Status: It's a kind of magic trick (though it really will hold up your books)
image is offering a product called the magicSHELF. Kathy Johnston emailed me to ask: "Is this for real? I can't tell how it works." Unfortunately, I don't yet have a definitive answer. The magicSHELF has stumped me.

Pictures of the magicSHELF show books floating against a wall as if by magic, with no visible means of support. As the site says, "magicSHELF floats your books in the air, docking to any wall you wish." When I first saw it I figured it had to be a joke. This is linkydinky, after all, the creators of the infamous Lovenstein Institute email. Plus, the pictures of the magicSHELF in action could easily have been photoshopped, and statements such as "How does magicSHELF work? It works like magic!" seem tongue-in-cheek. But then I noticed that they're taking money for these things, which put a dent in my skepticism. After all, if you send them $18, you better get something in return... and not just an empty box. I don't think linkydinky would invite people to send them money for a nonexistent product. So now I'm thinking that the magicSHELF must be real, although I have no explanation for how it works.

Update: Greg Cason ordered a magicSHELF and emailed me the flyer that explains how it works. So what's the secret? Well, now that I know, I think I need to invoke the magician's creed (don't spoil the trick) and stay mum. However, I will say that it is real, and it definitely does work.

Update 2: I received my very own magicshelf in the mail, sent by Uncle Url of linkydinky to help me verify that it is, indeed, real. Perhaps it was just a trick of the light, but I could swear that the package it arrived in was floating, ever so slightly, off the ground. wink

Anyway, it didn't take me long to get it installed. Maybe ten minutes total. You can see the results below.

image image image

When you get the magicSHELF your first thought might be, "This is so simple. Why didn't I think of this?" But, speaking for myself, I had never thought of it before, so I've got to give Uncle Url credit for the idea. And it definitely looks cool to have books magically floating on the wall. It's a surreal effect. You kind of have to blink twice to make sure your eyes aren't playing tricks on you. It really looks like there should be something supporting the books. Great conversation starter. I know I'm going to be showing it off to every guest that comes over.

So how sturdy is it? Well, I wouldn't stack a lot of books on it. Six or seven seems about right. Also, I wouldn't lean on it or let kids hang on it (unless you want a hole in your wall). But if it's by your bedside, it'll support some books and a glass of water, no problem.

If you're handy with making stuff on your own, you could probably jerry-rig something similar to the magicSHELF for less money. (But if you can't imagine how this might be done, then you're probably not handy enough to take on such a project.) However, the challenge would be to find the right parts. When I was at Home Depot this morning, I quickly checked to see how easy it would be to find similar parts. I found a few things that could work, if I had the tools to bend them into the right shape. But I don't have those kind of tools. However, I'm pretty sure that if one were to drive around to a few different hardware stores, you could eventually find something roughly equivalent. But how much effort are you willing to expend? It's a lot easier just to order it from Uncle Url. And it is his idea, after all.

Disclaimer: I don't have any kind of financial arrangement with linkydinky, but I have agreed to let Uncle Url quote me as saying that the magicSHELF is real. In return, whenever he uses my testimonial, he mentions that I have a book coming out soon, Hippo Eats Dwarf. So I do derive some benefit from that.

Literature/Language Magic Technology

Posted on Thu Jan 19, 2006


It's obvious that the bottom book is the shelf. You get a book with a strong adhesive to stick on the wall !!!
Posted by davetolomy  on  Thu Jan 19, 2006  at  12:34 PM
Or it could be books on a surface photographed from above.
Posted by Christie  on  Thu Jan 19, 2006  at  12:36 PM
I'm tempted to send them the money for this thing. If I don't get a real product in return, that works as advertised, I'll sue 'em!
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Thu Jan 19, 2006  at  01:01 PM
This self hurts my brain like math, it must be magic!
Posted by Zoe  on  Thu Jan 19, 2006  at  01:27 PM
I had the same thought as davetolomy, that's the logical answer.
Posted by Dracul  on  Thu Jan 19, 2006  at  01:37 PM
An "L" shaped bracket of bent steel, with the horizontal shelf concealed in the bottom book, perhaps.
Posted by CCC  in  Rochester  on  Thu Jan 19, 2006  at  01:56 PM
cant you guys see its just plain magic!
Posted by adsfgh  on  Thu Jan 19, 2006  at  01:59 PM
Anybody can make one of these, it's incredibly easy. I'm just trying to think of a way to do it without ruining the bottom book.
Posted by Charybdis  in  Hell  on  Thu Jan 19, 2006  at  02:03 PM
I don't think it could be done without ruining the bottom book. If you don't glue the book shut, the bottom cover would hang down.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Thu Jan 19, 2006  at  02:35 PM
I agree with davet. It all examples it seems the bottom book is the largest. It may be a fake book in the form of a shelf.
Posted by Razela  in  Chicago, IL  on  Thu Jan 19, 2006  at  03:03 PM
The had this in "I Want That" on HGTV. The bottom book is actally painted wood which screws into the wall.
Posted by cap11235  on  Thu Jan 19, 2006  at  03:10 PM
I agree, I think it's a faux-bottom book.
Posted by Dan  on  Thu Jan 19, 2006  at  03:12 PM
And the bottom book is "The Bible Code II: The Countdown"--something I'd be proud to have on my wall. . . .NOT!!
Posted by Joe  on  Thu Jan 19, 2006  at  03:18 PM
This has been on TV, the bottom book is the shelf, held by hidden brackets
Posted by Barb  on  Thu Jan 19, 2006  at  06:13 PM
Couldnt there be a clear plexiglass "L" under the bottom book and bolted to the wall?
Posted by chyca  on  Thu Jan 19, 2006  at  07:21 PM
I was at a fair where a guy was selling these. They're just old book covers with carved and painted wood inside, and L shaped bracket on the back.
Posted by Eric  on  Thu Jan 19, 2006  at  09:27 PM
Ok, here's the problem: it says you can float anything, dvd's, vhs's, cd's. Because there's no order form specifying which media you'll want to "magic" up there, we have to presume it's something that modifies your preexisting possesions, or we have to go back to the plexiglass theory (even though it doesn't seem like that's what's going on). The fact that Bible Code II is on the bottom twice is a bit fishy but I'm going with it not being a fake book on the bottom. Back to the drawing board kiddies...
Posted by Heidi  on  Fri Jan 20, 2006  at  12:29 AM
Well, I've spent $19 (including S&H) in much worse ways, so I'm ordering one.
Posted by hcmomof4  on  Fri Jan 20, 2006  at  01:09 AM
In all the cases with books (Bar the toilet), the bottom book is a large, hardbacked book, slightly larger than the normal books, and is almost certainly a fake. What we want is a picture of the magic books on a wall, and then a picture of the wall without any books at all.
Posted by Daniel  in  England  on  Fri Jan 20, 2006  at  03:08 AM
I've seen anchored shelves that look like a chuck of wood with no under or over supports. How about l-supports with plexiglass or a thin metal sheet as the shelf, with a small adjustable prong to hold a cover closed if needed? Could hold CDs, Books, DVDs and be invisible as long as the item is large enough to hide the L support.
Posted by ManiacalV  in  Cleveland, OH  on  Fri Jan 20, 2006  at  04:27 AM
I've seen similar on sale in South Africa - it's a book that looks like a shelf (or a shelf disguised as a book - however you want to look at it!).
Posted by Susie B  in  South Africa  on  Fri Jan 20, 2006  at  04:37 AM
Not such a mystery really. Works via a combed strip that is screwed to the wall.

In fact the magic shelf looks like a poor imitation of the sticklebook. Patent infringements??
Posted by cmok  in  Oz  on  Fri Jan 20, 2006  at  06:32 AM
My wife and I are putting up a wine and a wine glass shelf that are cantilevered (that is, no l-bracket, just a strip that has holes for anchor bolts to go into a wall and stud, a two shafts that come out on the horizontal.) Many of these shelves just slide onto support rods and "float". You can see them on lots of shows on HGTV or "Trading spaces" They can probably make any size shelf that way. Sorry to be so conventional
Posted by mitch Gillett  in  Ann Arbor, Mi  on  Fri Jan 20, 2006  at  07:08 AM
Anybody can make one of these, it's incredibly easy. I'm just trying to think of a way to do it without ruining the bottom book.
Posted by Charybdis in Hell on Thu Jan 19, 2006 at 10:03 PM

Charyb: take a book with a dust cover. Remove the dust cover and glue it on a piece of wood similar in size and shape as the original book. Here you are. Of course, your original book no longer will have its dust cover. A workaround for this is to not use the original dust cover, but a color photocopy.
Posted by LaMa  in  Europe  on  Fri Jan 20, 2006  at  07:48 AM
The bottom (fake) book is the shelf, which is screwed into the wall. The book cover actually 'covers' the shelf.

The so-called SelfShelf can be purchased here: .
Posted by Robert Wood  in  Belgium  on  Fri Jan 20, 2006  at  08:50 AM
It's a knockoff of the selfshelf, available as a commercial product. Check out the available titles.

It's the fourth entry on this page:
Posted by Henrietta P. Worthington  on  Fri Jan 20, 2006  at  10:02 AM
this could probably be done without damaging the bottom book or having the bottom book's cover hang down if the anchored support had a clip or insert that went back towards the wall into the book's sleeve, I'm not saying that that's what this is, just thinking it's a better idea. that way you don't have to stare at "the bible code" every time you look in it's direction.
Posted by mormagli  on  Fri Jan 20, 2006  at  11:25 AM
This is in the email from LinkyDinky:

(when you get your magicSHELF, look at it in
the light for faint fingerprints. Those are mine!)


No, it doesn't use glue.
No, it doesn't use wire.
No, it doesn't use nails.
No, it doesn't use magnets.
No, it won't shock you (no electricity is used)
No, it doesn't hang on threads.
No, it isn't radioactive
No, the pictures aren't faked.
No, you can't sit or stand on it.

Yes, you can put a small goldfish bowl on it
Yes, it will last a long long long time (years)
Yes, it will dock with a glass wall
Yes, it is silent
Yes, it will work in an RV
Yes, it will float a picture frame
Yes, it will work in cold, hot or humid weather

It sounds like there's no block of wood involved, but a block of acrylic/plastic would be about the same. And saying it doesn't use nails doesn't mean it doesn't use screws...

But I'm still gonna order one.
Posted by hcmomof4  on  Fri Jan 20, 2006  at  12:44 PM
To me the photo looks like they put a bunch of books on the floor then took a picture of it smile
Posted by Webby  in  Ogdne, UT  on  Sat Jan 21, 2006  at  01:10 PM
I vote for fake. 2 reasons why I think so:

1: no glue wires or nails? That means nothing to adhere it to the wall or anything else. They could be using a loophole, note they don't say it doesn't use screws.

2: It's not for sale on Amazon or Ebay. Everything known to man is on one or the other of these. If the company was really serious about moving these they'd hire a guy to post thousands on ebay, or their supplier would.

please note that if it does turn out to be real, I'll say that's what I said all along.
Posted by eliot2000  in  Springfield, mo  on  Sun Jan 22, 2006  at  07:08 AM
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